MTN shares rise after sanctions on Iran lifted

The move frees up over $1 billion in frozen accumulated dividends for the SA mobile phone company.

MTN logo. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - Shares in MTN Group rose on Monday on news that sanctions against Iran have been lifted, a move that would free up more than $1 billion in frozen accumulated dividends for the South African mobile phone company.

By 08:58 GMT, the stock was up 2.22 percent at R120.88, outpacing a 0.2 percent rise in its closest rival Vodacom Group.

Iran emerged from years of economic isolation on Saturday when world powers lifted crippling sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

MTN, which owns 49 percent of unlisted Irancell, the Middle Eastern country's second-biggest mobile phone operator by subscribers, has been restricted from repatriating money from the unit due to the sanctions.

MTN said in August last year it hoped to repatriate about $1.1 billion in accumulated dividends frozen by international sanctions once Iran's nuclear deal with world powers was finalised.

MTN spokesman Chris Maroleng declined to comment.